Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

We continue to cower in fear of Syrian refugees


As part of its ongoing fight to keep Syrian refugees out of the state, Texas is threatening to withdraw from the nation’s refugee resettlement program if federal officials refuse to “unconditionally approve” a state plan requiring additional vetting of relocated people.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday said the state had informed the Office of Refugee Resettlement that it would leave the program unless the feds approved its plan to only accept refugees who “are fully vetted and do not present a security threat.”

“Despite multiple requests by the state of Texas, the federal government lacks the capability or the will to distinguish the dangerous from the harmless, and Texas will not be an accomplice to such dereliction of duty to the American people,” Abbott said in a statement.


In November, Abbott directed resettlement nonprofits in Texas to stop accepting Syrian refugees — a move the feds said Texas didn’t have the authority to make. The state has sued the feds over Syrian refugees and seen its case dismissed, though an appeal is working its way through the courts.

Meanwhile, Texas and U.S. officials have been negotiating refugee resettlement plans for the 2017 federal fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1. Aside from the request for security assurances, Texas officials said they previously rejected a proposal by the U.S. State Department to increase the number of refugees resettled in Texas by 25 percent. They said they would only accept the same number of refugees relocated to Texas in the 2016 federal fiscal year: 7,633.

If Texas withdraws from the federal refugee resettlement program, it doesn’t mean refugees would stop flowing to the state; the federal government could distribute money directly to nonprofit groups here. Resettlement officials have said the U.S. Refugee Act of 1980 allows the federal government to designate an entity other than a state government to serve as the state refugee coordinator and disburse funding — a set-up currently in place in six states.

See here, here, and here for some background. The state didn’t just sue the feds, it also sued the International Rescue Committee non-profit, which remains the most mind-boggling part of this. I mean, these were and are religious non-profits doing this work. Can you imagine the uproar from Abbott et al if it were the feds meddling in the affairs of those religious non-profits? You don’t have to imagine it – the state is more than happy to join the fray on their behalf when it involves things like health care and birth control. Because that’s clearly what Jesus would do. (Just a reminder: The Catholic Church calls for welcoming Syrian refugees in America. Keep that in mind the next time you hear something about Greg Abbott’s self-professed Catholic faith.)

Anyway. This is unlikely to have much practical effect – as the story notes, the feds can provide assistance to something other than the state government, so it’s just a matter of having a different middleman. Mostly, what this does is tell us something about our state leaders. To be sure, it’s something we already knew. Texas Monthly and the Chron have more.

Related Posts:


  1. Bill Daniels says:

    There’s a subtle (well, OK, not so subtle) difference between the refugees of today and refugees in the past. In the past, we took in people yearning for freedom and for peace, and we felt comfortable that’s what they wanted from us. Now we take in Muslim people and wonder which Skittle will mass murder, or try to mass murder, Americans. Previous iterations of refugees wanted freedom. The Muslims want submission and Sharia, and a smaller subset want American blood on their hands.

    Since we can’t vet these folks, the safe play is to not bring them here. Abbott is tilting at windmills trying to stop this, but I applaud him for trying and for speaking the truth on this issue, political correctness be damned.

  2. Paul Kubosh says:

    Rather than type a response let me just say I agree with Bill.

  3. Ross says:

    Bigot jerks

  4. Ross says:

    Yes BI’ll and Paul, you are bigot jerks, and should be ashamed of yourselves. Why do you hate Muslims, especially those who are escaping the utter destruction of their communities. Where else would you have them go, given that most of the Middle East is not suitable for refugee resettlement.

  5. Jules says:

    Oh, Paul, our agreement here ends.

    The Skittle remark is racist.